Episode 12: You’ve Got A Lead! Now What?

If you have been putting into practice everything from the Getting Started series, you're probably starting to generate interest in your coaching. So on this episode, we're covering what you should do when someone approaches you and says “Hey, I'm interested in learning more!” Because sometimes, that can be one of the scariest parts of the process.
Coach with Clarity Podcast Lee Chaix McDonough

12: You've Got A Lead! Now What?

If you've been putting into practice everything we've talked about in the podcast up to this point, then you're probably starting to generate some interest in your coaching work. And, while that's exciting, it can also be a little intimating if you don't know what to do next.

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Show Notes

If you’ve been putting into practice everything we’ve talked about in the podcast up to this point, then you’re probably starting to generate some interest in your coaching work. And, while that’s exciting, it can also be a little intimating if you don’t know what to do next.

Luckily for you, that’s exactly what I’ll be covering in today’s episode. I’m going to share my advice on what to do when someone says they’re interested in learning more or they know someone else who might be interested in what you’re offering.

Topics covered

  • The first question you need to ask when someone says they know someone who might be a good fit for you
  • The two methods you can use to move forward with a new referral source after confirming they do seem like a good fit
  • Why you can’t treat your new potential client like they’re on The Bachelor
  • The exact things I do when someone reaches out to me asking for more information about my Coach with Clarity membership or 1:1 services
  • How I personally conduct my “getting to know you” calls with potential clients
  • The magic question that serves me very well on these calls
  • How the Hero’s Journey factors into these calls
  • What I do when a potential client specifically asks me about my pricing
  • How I personally end these calls so that we’re both feeling good about the experience and clear on the next step

Resources mentioned

Now it’s time for you to show the world what it means to be a Coach with Clarity! Screenshot this episode and tag me on Instagram @coachwithclarity and let me know what you’re more excited to explore in future podcast episodes!

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Well, hey there, my friend. Welcome back to another episode of the Coach with Clarity podcast. My name is Lee Chaix McDonough, and we are getting close to the end of the Getting Started series. So if you are a regular podcast listener, you know that we have covered so much ground in this Getting Started series, from defining what coaching is, to helping you clarify who you want to serve, how you want to serve them, and how to build your audience. 

So if you have been putting into practice everything we've talked about, then you are probably starting to generate some interest in your coaching work. And that is what we are going to talk about on today's episode. We are going to cover what you should do when someone approaches you and says “Hey, I'm interested in learning more!” Because sometimes that can be one of the scariest parts of the process, when someone says that they're interested, and it's like, what do I do now? Well, after today's episode, you are going to feel so confident in how to move forward. So let's go ahead and get started.

Today, I want to approach this from two perspectives. The first perspective is if someone says to you, “Hey, I know someone that I think might be a good fit.” So in that case, we're looking at receiving interest from a referral source. And then of course, the second option is when someone who represents a potential client says that they're interested in learning more. So we're going to talk about both of those today. And I want to start by talking about what to do when a referral says, “I know someone that might be good for you.” 

So first, I want you to fight the impulse to say, “Oh, great, give me their information and let me get a hold of them.” But first, let's do a little homework. Let's make sure that this person that the referral source is thinking of it is a good fit for us and for our coaching practice. And we find that out by simply asking the question. 

So if you are engaging with someone and they say, “Hey, you know, I know someone that I think might be really interested in your coaching services,” your first response should be, “Oh, really? Tell me more!” We want to do a little bit of fact finding to figure out why this person thinks that coaching is the right choice for their friend or colleague. 

This is also a great way for us to learn a little bit more about the person before we engage with them. Because again, we want to make sure that you are building your coaching practice with clients that are going to light you up and who you want to serve. So let's get a little curious and let's engage with the referral source and find out more about the person they're thinking of, why they think they'd be interested in coaching, and why they think they'd be a good fit for our practice. 

So a simple “Oh, really? tell me more!” is a way to open up that conversation. And as you learn more about this potential client, you'll start to recognize whether this is in fact, a good referral source. ,or if maybe this is someone that is better suited for another coach. And so from there, you can decide how you want to move forward. Perhaps it means referring this person to another coach who would be a better fit, or maybe it means pursuing the recommendation that you've received. 

So let's assume that this is someone that you're interested in connecting with and learning more about to see if they would be a good fit for your coaching practice. There are two ways that you can go about taking the next step with this referral source. The first is to say “Okay, great, give me their information, and I'll follow up with them.” The benefit of this strategy is that it puts you in the position of having control over the outcome. So by having that person's information and by initiating the contact, you know for sure that it's going to happen. 

But the downside is that the referral source may not know that it's going to happen, they may not have consented to the referral. And I don't know about you, but I always find it to be a little challenging to initiate contact with someone when it's a completely cold introduction. So that's why generally speaking, I don't get the information about the potential client from my referral source. 

I use the second option, which is to ask the referral source to initiate the connection. So that might look like saying, “This person sounds really interesting, and I would love to learn more about them and explore whether coaching is the right next step for them. Could I ask you to make that connection? You can either share my information with that person and have them give me a call, or you can email both of us and make a virtual introduction? Would you be willing to do that?” 

Nine times out of 10, the referral source is more than happy to do that, and it's a great way for the potential client to learn about you through a trusted source., so then they won't be surprised when you reach out to talk more about coaching. It also gives the opportunity for the client to consent to this, which for me is really important. Again, I want to work with people who want to work with me, so consent from the very beginning is really critical for me. 

So when I have the referral source, initiate the connection versus me doing it on my own. I believe it respects the client's autonomy. And again, it's a way to warm things up, rather than me just giving them a cold call. So that's my preferred strategy. It's not right or wrong or better or worse than the other one. It's just how I prefer to do it. 

Of course, it does place the responsibility on the referral source to make that connection. Which means I don't have control as to whether or not they actually follow through. But one of the things I like to do is to follow up with a thank you a day or two later. So I will send an email or a voxer message or even a phone call to the referral source and thank them for making that connection. 

So this does one of two things. First, if the referral source has already made the connection, you're simply thanking them for doing so. But if they haven't yet made the connection, this is a nice, gentle reminder to encourage them to do so. You can never go wrong when you start from a place of gratitude. And so that's why I think the thank you follow up is a great way to acknowledge what the referral is giving you which is a potential lead, and maybe remind them to make that connection if they haven't already done so. 

So those are my next steps for how to follow up with a referral source. Now let's talk about what to do if it is a potential client who approaches you and says they're interested in learning more about you and your coaching services. Well, first off internally, give yourself a round of applause. This is pretty exciting! It means all of the hard work that you've done to connect with your ideal clients and to share your work with the world, you are getting a response. So this is a phenomenal sign, and it's worthy of celebration. So go ahead and give yourself a round of applause on the inside. 

On the outside, let's remember that we are starting a relationship with someone. We are cultivating the kind of relationship we want to have with them. And as with most relationships, we're not going to go straight to getting engaged and getting married right off the bat. I mean, this is not The Bachelor, right? This is not 90 Day Fiance. This is a coaching relationship. We want to get to know each other first, before we move into deepening the relationship and working together. 

So let's remember to treat this as such, and this is the stage where we are getting to know each other. This is like our first date. And what I would suggest you do is propose that you have an initial 20 or 30 minute phone or video call, where you get to know each other. So when someone expresses interest in you and your services, this is not the time to sell them, or to even talk about your rates yet, that will come later. This first interaction is simply about getting to know each other, establishing the relationship, and seeing if you're both interested in moving forward. 

Here's an example. It's pretty common that I will receive an email or a Facebook message from someone who has heard about Coach with Clarity, whether it's the membership or my private coaching services, and they want to learn more about it. So the very first thing I do is send a reply thanking them for their interest and providing very basic information related to what they're asking. 

So if they have emailed wanting to know more about the Coach with Clarity membership, I might talk about how it's a really vibrant community of coaches who are looking at building both their coaching and their business mastery. And I'll include a link to the website, then I might invite them to email me back with questions, or even get on a 20 minute call where we can talk about what they are hoping to achieve in their coaching practice and whether the membership might be a right fit. 

That's a similar approach that I would take with someone who is interested in private coaching as well. I would thank them for reaching out, reflect back anything that I picked up on in their email, and then definitely invite them to connect with me during a 20 minute call. I have a scheduling link that I include in that email to make it super easy for the person to follow up with me so that we can get to know each other better. 

Ideally, that person is going to schedule that 20 minute or 30 minute phone call, whatever works best for you. I generally refer to it as a 20 minute call, but I will block off at least 30 minutes in my calendar. That way, if we're getting really into the conversation and things are going really well, I've got a little wiggle room if they do so that we can continue the conversation. 

So let's talk about what that conversation should look like. Again, this is the getting to know you call. And I'll be really clear with my potential client upfront that that's the purpose. We're not necessarily going to talk about, you know, working together or anything, this is simply a time for me to get to know them, them to get to know me, and we'll decide at the end of the call what the next steps look like. 

My thought is that for at least the first half of this call, the client should be doing most of the talking. I will ask them questions to clarify and I will definitely provide some validation in my responses. But basically, I want the first half of the call to be focused on the client. That's where the spotlight belongs. So I'll start by asking the client to tell me a little about themselves and why they're interested in coaching, then my job is to simply stay quiet and listen. I'm listening to the words that they're saying, so the content, but I'm also listening for the subtext, the energy, the excitement, the doubts, anything that might be coming up within the content of what they're sharing with me. 

So this is where having deep listening skills is going to be really important. I'm going to give the client some space and some time to share their story with me. I may ask a few clarifying questions along the way. But otherwise, I'm really letting the client take the lead on this part of the conversation. That normally takes anywhere from five to 10 minutes. 

Then there comes a time in the conversation, and you'll sense this, where we're moving away from information gathering about the client and the client is going to want to gather some information about us. So when you hit that transition point, I find that there's a magic question that serves me very well in these first initial calls. And that question is simply, “What questions do you have for me?”

It is an invitation for the client to ask whatever's on their mind, and it's a way where it empowers them to direct the conversation. So it's not me just jumping in and talking about me or my work or my prices or anything like that. Instead, it's an invitation for the client to ask more. It empowers them, it puts them in the position of leading the conversation and it automatically creates interest and buy in from the client. So when they are asking the question and you are answering it, you are serving them, you are meeting their needs as well, versus you launching into a sale spiel without their request. 

So I really like transitioning the call from learning about the client to discussing coaching by simply asking the client, “What questions do you have for me?” That opens up the next path in the conversation, and that path typically includes one or two questions. The first question I get is, “Well, tell me more about coaching and what you do.” So that is more of a service oriented question. And then the second question is, “And how much does this cost?” So we're definitely looking at a pricing conversation there. A lot of times those two questions might be wrapped up into one so the client may say something like, “So I'd love to learn more about your coaching services and what you do and how much it costs all of that.” 

My recommendation is that you always start by describing your services, and you want to give your client the overall big picture of what it looks like to coach with them. I find it very helpful to think about this from the perspective of the hero's journey. So your client is the hero. They are about to go forward on an epic quest, because coaching in many ways is a quest. It's about self discovery. It's about growth. And they are looking for someone to guide them through this process. That's why they are talking to you. 

So let's really kind of in our minds think of this as the hero's journey. We want to clarify their starting point. We want to let them know this is where you are today, based on everything you just shared with me, this is what I'm hearing. And this is where you're headed. And you can pull out information that they've shared with you thus far. That's why that deep listening is so important, because you're going to weave in what they've talked about and even the exact words and phrases they've used to create this journey. 

So you're reflecting back where they are now and where they want to be, and then you can describe your coaching services as the bridge between those two points. So you can give a very high level overview of what it's like to coach with you, and you can contextualize it based on their circumstances and their desires. 

To give you an example, if I'm doing a 20 minute call with someone who's interested in the Coach with Clarity membership, the first half of that call is learning about the client and what they hope to create in their coaching business. When I ask them what questions they have, typically they want to know more about the membership and what it includes. I can answer that question by referencing where they are today and talking about the specific things available within the membership that can help them get to where they want to be tomorrow. 

So for example, if they are someone who is really interested in pursuing coaching, but feeling a little uncertain about how to structure their business, then I can empathize with that and let them know within the membership, there are tools that can help them grow their business. There is the Creating an Ethical Business course, which will walk them through how to create their audience, how to create a business plan, and how to create a customized marketing plan that really works with their strengths and their preferences. So that is a course within the membership that they can access that will directly address their concerns about how do I even go about establishing this business? 

Or maybe I am working with a client who feels pretty confident about the business piece. They've done it before, but they're really uncertain about the actual art of coaching and what it looks like to guide a client through a coaching process. Well then I might reference a different part of the Coach with Clarity membership – for example, the hot seat coaching sessions. We have monthly hot seat calls where members are able to apply to sit on the hot seat and receive coaching from me and it is a wonderful real time example of what coaching looks like. And within the calls, there's an opportunity for people who are observing to ask me questions about the coaching process I use. There's also other resources in the toolkit that provide some structure in terms of how to conduct a launch session, how to conduct a standard session, and what to do for that final session. So the ins and outs of providing a coaching experience to a client are things that we go into great detail within the membership. So I can highlight those services as a way of directly addressing this client's main concern, which is how exactly do I coach my clients? 

So I'm answering that question about what services do you provide and really tailoring the answer to the needs of that client, and I know that client's needs because I've invested time at the beginning of the conversation to really get to know them and what their big goals and their big obstacles are. 

As I'm going through this process and explaining some of the services offered, and again, the example I shared with you is within the membership, but I will also do this for my overall coaching process as well. I'm always stopping to ask questions of the client along the way. I want to gauge their interest. I want to gauge their understanding. And I want to make sure that they're feeling connected and that we're on this path together. 

So I will periodically say, so “How does that resonate with you?” Or “Does that sit with you well?” or “What questions do you have?” Again, I want to make sure that the client is with me, that they're understanding, and that they're still interested in moving forward. 

Now, if I am talking to a client who's interested in private coaching, the way I address this conversation will be very similar but instead of pulling out specific products or services that are offered within the membership, I'm going to talk more globally about the coaching journey. And so I'll let them know that through private coaching, we will always start off with a deep dive launch session where we really clarify what the client hopes to achieve during our six month coaching relationship, why this matters so much to them, and how it connects with their big why. And then we'll start to create a specific plan of action that they will follow over the next six months to help them achieve their big goal. 

So we start there with the launch session. Then I talk about what they can expect next through the coaching process. So whether there's an assessment tool that you might use with your clients, for example, I use the Energy Leadership Index with all of my clients. It's a really fascinating assessment tool that examines the type of energy we tend to bring to our lives when things are going as they normally do, and when we're under stress. That is something we do in the future second session, because I find it provides a shared language and experience between my clients and me, and it's something that we've referenced moving forward. So I'll share that that would be step two. 

And then after that our coaching sessions are really about helping the client take action on the plans that we've created in our launch session. Sometimes that looks very tactical, and it's about what do I do next? And how will you implement that? Sometimes those sessions tend to be more mindset oriented, where we're looking at what's coming up for the client as they are implementing this action plan – what thoughts, emotions, doubts or concerns they're having, and we'll do some coaching work around that. 

Again, the coaching process can be really flexible. It'll meet the client's needs where they are in the moment, but we're always coming back to the client's goal. And then finally, during our last session, we will wrap up, we'll celebrate the gains they've made and we'll talk about next steps. So that's a really nice way for me to provide a brief overview of what the coaching process looks like, and that answers the question of “Tell me more about coaching and what I can expect.” 

I mentioned that the second question I typically receive has to do with cost, and that's totally understandable because when someone is looking into coaching, they want to know what the financial investment will be. And I come from a position of believing that transparency is very important. I don't think there's any benefits to hiding your rates from your clients. And I know that I don't particularly appreciate it when I feel like I'm being sold to but I'm waiting for the big number at the end. That's just not the kind of energy that I want to bring into the conversation, nor is that how I want to start the relationship with my clients. 

So if a client asks me point blank, okay, so how much does coaching with you cost? I will let them know and I'll say, a six month coaching package with me typically starts at $8500 and it includes everything that I just described to you. And I'll also include any other additional services that the client has access to, for example, in my private coaching package, it includes email contact and Voxer support. If they're working on any sort of written materials, I'm happy to take a look at them. 

So again, I'll clarify what's included, and I'll state my price clearly. And then I stop. And I say, “I think we might be getting a little ahead of ourselves though, because we need to really determine whether this is going to be a workable relationship. I want you to feel 100% confident about working with me. And likewise, I want to make sure that you are the right fit for my coaching practice as well.” So then we'll talk about next steps. 

And for me, I always conduct a coaching session with a potential client before I sign them on to a coaching package. Again, it's an opportunity for me to show up and serve them powerfully. But it's also making sure that this person is the right fit for me. I have accepted clients into my coaching practice that have not been a good fit, and it hasn't really served either one of us well, so for me, it's worth taking the time and investing the energy at the start through a complimentary coaching session to ensure that someone is going to be the right fit and that it's going to be a positive outcome. 

Now, this is something that I do for my longer term six month packages, because that is a huge investment in terms of time, energy and finances. When I am doing a single session offer, say a deep dive intensive, or if I'm talking about the membership, I'm not going to do a complimentary coaching session. It just doesn't make sense. So at that point, I'll just state my rate and then I will talk about next steps. 

So if someone wants to know how much is the coach with clarity, membership, I know at this point in time, it's a $297 investment for 90 days of membership, and so within that 90 days, they'll get access to all of the things that I've described. Then after that 90 days, it goes to an automatic $99 a month investment so that they'll continue to have access to everything. And I'll talk about what they can expect after 90 days. So any sort of new content, or things that aren't necessarily part of that first 90 day experience, I'll let them know how they can join. 

And I always wrap up by asking, “What other questions do you have?” For me, it's really important that at the end of this 20 minute call, the client feels like they've had the opportunity to ask any questions they have of you, and to really fully explore what the coaching relationship might be like. 

So at the end of the call, it's then my responsibility to guide the client to the next step. So for example, if this is a private coaching client, I'll say, “So the next step would be to schedule a complimentary coaching session. Do you want to get out your calendar now and we can go ahead and make that happen?” I really like scheduling a session with them at the end of that 20 minute call because it gives us a solid next step and I know that that's where we're headed. 

With regard to the membership, I will give them a direct link so that when they're ready to join, they know exactly what to do next. But at the end of the call, it's very important that as the coach, we provide really clear instructions on next steps for our clients to take. 

And then we conclude the call with a thank you. And then a lot of times I will also follow up by email a day or two later, thanking them for their time and letting them know that if they've had any other thoughts or questions emerged since our call, I am more than happy to answer them and they should feel free to reply. 

We've just covered the exact steps I take when someone expresses interest in my services and I hope you have found it helpful. I think now is the perfect time to head into a Clarity in Action moment. 

As regular listeners of the podcast know, the Clarity in Action moment is all about taking everything we've discussed today and putting it into action. Because it's great to learn about things, but if we're not implementing them in our businesses, then we are missing out on a huge opportunity. 

So this week, your Clarity in Action moment is to create your own process of how you will guide an interested potential client through the initial getting to know you process. Now I know for some people, they really like to create a format or a template that they can follow. Whether you do that just in a Word document or on a Google doc or maybe you use a project management system like Asana or Trello, I want you to find the way that's going to work best for you, but I do want you to have a process in place. So even if it's just a few bullet points on a piece of paper, you know that the next time an interested client approaches you that you are going to follow steps A, B, and C. 

Having a documented process in place will build your confidence and your comfort level in conducting these types of initial conversations with your ideal client. And I promise you that the more conversations you have, the more natural it becomes, the easier it becomes, and it actually is a whole lot of fun to connect with clients in this way. 

So it's okay if the first few times you feel a little nervous or uncertain, give yourself the gift of grace and remember that as you conduct more of these calls, you are going to become even more comfortable. And this is all part of your process. 

Alright, my friend, I hope that today's episode has served you and that you feel more ready than ever to get out there and start working with your ideal clients. I have full faith and confidence in you. You have everything you need to make this happen. If you would like a little support in doing so then I would encourage you to check out the Coach with Clarity membership. You can learn more about the membership and everything that comes with it by heading to https://www.coachwithclarity.com/membership. It’s a lovely balance of content and community, and it's going to help you build your skills as a coach and as a small business owner, and I would love to welcome you into the membership. So just head to https://www.coachwithclarity.com/membership to learn more and to join. 

I hope you have a wonderful week. I will be back next week with even more information for you. Thanks for spending today with me, thank you for participating in the Getting Started series. I hope you have found all of this valuable. If you have, it would mean the world to me if you would leave a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to the show. Your reviews really help spread the word about Coach with Clarity and introduce the podcast to new listeners. So thank you in advance for taking two minutes out of your day to leave a review of the Coach with Clarity podcast. 

My name is Lee Chaix McDonough and I am reminding you to get out there and show the world what it means to be a Coach with Clarity.

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